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disputed medical facility Mailly Maillet 1916.


andrew pugh
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Good Evening.

A couple of years ago I asked a question on the forum about the last house on the left as you leave Mailly Maillet towards Serre being a medical facility in 1916,The very suggestion caused a bit of a debate. I have recently been in contact with another Forum member to whom I told the story to, he did some research and confirmed that it was definitely used as an Advanced Dressing Station use by the 90th/91st and possibly 92nd Field Ambulance R.A.M.C. This information was obtained from the Official History of Medical Services Volume 3. There is also a map headed as follows, Battle of the Somme, Situation of Medical Units,4th Army 1st July 1916.So now this house which was in doubt in some peoples minds can now be, and should be excepted as a genuine medical centre used at that time. If you look at the property you can see that the railway from Auchonvillers ran literally past the end wall of the building and was not damaged by shell fire, ideal for evacuating casualties. The house is the B&B/Gite belonging to Mdm P Pecourt.I hope you find this of intrest.

Kind Regards Andy

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Thanks for posting Andy,

Interesting you mention 90th FA; from the war diary the 90th FA, at least at the end of June 1916, had its Advanced Dressing Stations at Blackhorse Bridge (presumably in the dugouts there along the bank of the Ancre) and another at Cabstand, which IIRC from a much earlier post on the GWF was located on the road between Aveluy Wood and Hamel. Mailly Maillet would certainly have otherwise been in the right area for the other 32nd Division FA at this time (if I still have and can find my 91st and 92nd FA war diary copies for the end of June 1916 I'll check where the other ADS were located).

Personally I've always wanted to find out exactly where in Bouzincourt the 90th FA Main Dressing Station was located at this time. I suspect such specific information no longer exists - but I always remain hopeful!

All the best

Steve

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Thank you - that's very interesting, I'd very much like to see that. Is this particular volume readily available do you know? I've seen books based upon the content of the Official History of Medical Services, but not the original volumes - I'm guessing they're rather like hens' teeth!

All the best

Steve

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Steve,

Can't help with the whereabouts of the MDS in Bouzincourt, but there is a photo of the interior on p 18 of Vol 3 of the Official Medical History...

. . . . and a photo of the outside on p 17 of the same volume. And very neatly sand-bagged it is, too.

Chris

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Wow, that would be super if you could - and really appreciated. I stumbled upon one online reference to the 90th FA MDS at Bouzincourt (Robert Leslie Masters MC RAMC) that narrows the locality down somewhat to 'a dug out on the outskirts of the village, on the Heaudaville Road', which I can only assume refers to the now D938 Route de Doullens at the SW of the village. Exactly where along this road I guess will remain a mystery, and this is probably as specific as I'm ever likely to get!

Many thanks to you and Chris for your feedback

All the best

Steve

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VMT, Mr Swan - wish I had the skills to scan and shrink docs. I've just spent a small mint at the local library (18 miles from home) copying and enlarging to A3 maps and photographs from that (very fragile) volume!

Chris

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Superb - thanks ever so much for posting! Yes, that is the road I was meaning. The slightly elevated topography seen on the left of photograph taken outside the MDS leads me to suspect that it would have been on the North side of the road somewhere within the red circle I've added on the following screen-capture from Google Earth - the communal cemetery and extension to the North, of course, highlighted by the yellow circle.

post-2839-0-43889400-1381003618_thumb.jp

All the best

Steve

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Steve - I enjoyed reading your relative's story - very comprehensive, well-put together and a fitting tribute to a man who served his country with distinction.

Mr Swan and Steve - my eyes are too tired, and my skills with a new PC are too weak, to have fully read and understood the WD extract. However, reference to siting the MDS on the Hedauville (Doullens) road doesn't make sense to me. I suspect the road labelled D20 would have been the main evac road through 32 Div's area so I strongly suspect Steve's yellow goose egg harbours the site of the MDS. The presence of 400+ graves in the Comunal Cemetery Extension there, IMHO, gives weight to that assumption. MDS personnel would not have want to carry the dead several hundred yards to a burial ground.

Chris

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Thanks for your kind comments Chris,

The D20 would have been the main line of evacuation through Bouzoincourt from Aveluy (and it would indeed have been along this road my gg uncle was taken back to the 90th FA MDS from the ADS at Black Horse Bridge on the afternoon of 27th June). This screen-capture from a later-war map (it's from the online McMasters collection, the map dated September 1918) shows in red 'two-way lorry traffic' - these being the D20 from Aveluy, which turns south along the Grande Rue to meet the road coming up from Albert (Rue Bastien) and the road West towards Hedauville, Forceville and Doullens beyond. If we can assume these were the main through-routes used for casualty evacuation in 1916, then the road passing the communal cemetery may have been 'off the beaten track' for the MDS so to speak. The Hedauville road may well still be the locality of the MDS.

post-2839-0-19789400-1381092409_thumb.jp

Interestingly, the 90th FA war diary for June 28th mentions that it had its own mortuary, to which my gg uncle's chums and others who were killed at the front on the 26th and 27th were brought back to on this day for subsequent burial. It could well be the mortuary was used as a holding place until the dead could be transferred up to the cemetery for burial.

If I find anything else out I'll let you chaps know - many thanks for your interest!

All the best

Steve

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I must have been a complete numpty to miss this the first time around (he says soundly kicking himself); I've found my old copy of the 90th FA war diary, and I just read the following under the entry for 24th June (quoted verbatim):

"After the morning evacuation we commenced to move to Dug Outs we have made on BOUZINCOURT - HEDAUVILLE Road just outside BOUZINCOURT village. Move was completed at 7 pm when our new Main Dressing Station was opened & the school closed. No cases are kept now, but all are evacuated direct to 91 & 92 Fd. Ambulances by horse and motor transport."

So, it looks like a location on the D938 to Hedauville is correct; further more, it seems the original 90th FA MDS was located in the village school up until the evening of 24th June.

Can't believe I missed that one!! :blush:

Regarding the 91st and 92nd FA casualties buried in the communal cemetery extension, the 90th FA diary also indicates it received reinforcements from both the 91st and 92nd FA during the latter part of June, and there seems to have been a fair amount of movement between all three FA. It could well be then that these casualties were either on attachment to 90th FA or could have become fatalities whilst ferrying casualties from 90th to 91st and 92nd FA.

All the best

Steve

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